S.I. 2003/753: further memorandum from
the Department of Health
109. The Committee has requested a memorandum
on the following point:
This instrument increases by 20% the fees to be
paid in respect of establishments and agencies other than nurses'
agencies, domiciliary care agencies and residential family centres.
Explain the reason for the size of this increase.
110. These Regulations consolidate with amendments
the National Care Standards Commission (Fees and Frequency of
Inspections) Regulations 2001 ("the Regulations").
111. The Regulations set the basis for the regulatory
activity and funding of the National Care Standards Commission
(NCSC). They reflect the work involved in registering and inspecting
care establishments and agencies and provide for a safe and realistic
level of inspection activity.
112. The Government's long-term plan is to move
to full cost recovery in respect of the NCSC after five years
- subject to a review after two. The policy intention is to make
the NCSC self-funding from fee income, free from central government
subsidy - the level of which stands at £90m for 2003/04.
The fee increases for 2003/04, though minor in cash terms, are
the necessary first step towards achieving the Government's long-term
objective of financial self-sufficiency for the NCSC.
113. In due course, the recurrent regulatory
running costs of the NCSC will be borne by the providers and purchasers
of care. The Government believes it is the right approach to transfer
the burden of these costs from the taxpayer to providers of care
services, and through their service charges, to the users of these
services, as these are the people who stand to gain most from
progress is made towards full cost recovery, fees will need to
rise. The implications of the Government's approach were comprehensively
set out in the wide-ranging public consultation, undertaken in
2001. The proposals
therein offered a phasing in of regulatory costs with a review
after two years - a proposal that was generally supported.
the short term the Government has taken a gradualist approach
in order to limit the impact on sectors. Last
year's fees (2002/03) were set at a very low level in order to
help care establishments adjust to the new regulatory regime.
115. It is recognised that, as purchasers of
care, both Local Authorities and Health Authorities may be faced
with higher purchasing costs, to the extent that providers incorporate
regulatory fees in the cost of placements. The Government has
provided, through appropriate funding adjustments, the financial
means necessary to ensure that the regulatory fee changes should
not affect either Local Authorities' or Health Authorities' ability
to purchase or support care.
14th April 2003
1 Frequencies of Inspection and Regulatory Fees -
A Consultation Paper (DH, 2001) Back